AssumeStupidityNotMalice

Also known as AssumeIgnoranceNotMalice, AssumeCommunicationFailure, HanlonsRazor.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your opponent is the ignorant one -- until you can show it isn't you. - M. L. Plano [1]

Or simpler:

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. [2]

Corollary: while malice must be fought, stupidity, incompetence and ignorance must be educated. Never flame when you could just point to the manual.

Corollary 2: Nobody looks at themselves as malicious. If you think the root cause of a conflict is maliciousness, then you'll think it's someone else's maliciousness. If you think the root cause of a conflict is incompetence, then maybe you'll acknowledge that it could be your incompetence. That may still be difficult, but it's a sign of wisdom.

It's better to say AssumeGoodFaith, which is positivist rather than explicitly negative.


Actually, sometimes it's better to say nothing at all. Never be prescriptive in an argument with someone. If someone appears not to AssumeStupidityNotMalice when you post, say "I'm not being malicious." Don't tell them to AssumeStupidityNotMalice, because no matter how well the pattern describes what you mean, it's nevertheless the title of the page that's what you say. Never use imperatives to change someone's behaviour toward you! -- ChrisPurcell

Heh. {:)}= That can be interpreted as an imperative:

Never use imperatives to change someone's behaviour toward you!

Maybe we should change the title of the page to just: StupidityNotMalice?. Or even ImNotMalicious?.

-- LionKimbro

[new]

No: that's a different concept. AssumeStupidityNotMalice refers to how I choose to act. It's not a question of perception. I can be quite clear in my own mind that someone is being deeply malicious, and still AssumeStupidityNotMalice in my actions. Ditto AssumeGoodFaith. Also, I often want to advise people to AssumeStupidityNotMalice in their dealings with third parties.

[new]

This is true. There's a certain level of disarming that happens when you act as if you AssumeGoodFaith even if you really don't. I also like the original statement at the top -- that you shouldn't assume that the stupidity is not your own. If there's a misuse of a wiki or other CommunityPlatform?, whose fault is it? How much of the blame lies with your community's own failure to communicate BehavioralNorm"s? --EvanProdromou

[new]

Maybe displaced and, <cough> somehow emotional, but: And how much of the blame lies with your community's own failure to communicate ToleranceToEmotionality?, or better, softer language (HardAndSoftLanguage) HowToGetTheBestOutOfEmotionality? ?


CategoryConflict

Define external redirect: ImNotMalicious CommunityPlatform HowToGetTheBestOutOfEmotionality ToleranceToEmotionality StupidityNotMalice

EditNearLinks: BehavioralNorm

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The same page elsewhere:
MeatBall:AssumeStupidityNotMalice